The crew of the USS Fitzgerald failed to take action in time to avoid a collision with a container ship that killed seven sailors, including two from San Diego County, according to multiple reports Friday.
The reports from CNN and Fox News cited unnamed defense officials who said the Navy will end up taking the blame for the June 17 collision near Japan.
Most of the victims — who included Fire Controlman 2nd Class Carlos Victor Ganzon Sibayan, of Chula Vista, and Yeoman 3rd Class Shingo Alexander Douglass, of San Diego — were asleep in berths that flooded.
The defense officials said the findings were preliminary and are being reviewed by leaders of the Seventh Fleet, which commands the Western Pacific. One told CNN that a “slew of things” went wrong, including not doing anything until the last second.
The collision with the Phillipine-flagged ACX Crystal ripped open a ragged 12-foot by 17-foot hole in the starboard side of the Fitzgerald below the waterline.
In response to the reports, Navy Chief of Information Rear Adm. Dawn Cutler released a statement that said, “We are in the early stages of the investigation process to develop a comprehensive picture of what caused the collision and do not have any definitive information to release at this time.”
“It is premature to speculate on causation or any other issues,” Cutler said. “Once we have a detailed understanding of the facts and circumstances, we will share those findings with the Fitzgerald families, our congressional oversight committees and the general public.”
The remains of Sibayan and Douglass were returned home, and they were buried locally earlier this month.
— City News Service
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